And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Nationals 9, Braves 2: The Nats continue to be an outrageous pain in Atlanta’s rear end. Before the game, mindful of this and mindful of the fact that Livan Hernandez always kills the Braves, I tweeted the following: “Oh, Livan is going against the Braves tonight? Prediction: 7 IP, 3H, 1 ER, 6K, 0 BB.”  He wasn’t that good, but I wasn’t far off: 7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1K, 3 BB.  The common thread there is a frustrating evening for Braves hitters against a guy who has no business getting major league hitters out after all of these years but dadgummit, keeps doing it.

Yankees 5, Red Sox 2: Did I say the rivalry was boring? A John Lackey pitch to Frank Cervelli’s back changed that at least for a little while, clearing the benches even if no one threw punches. There were some earlier plunkings, though they appeared without purpose. Lackey’s seemed to be in retaliation for a Cervelli home run. To which I say “don’t suck so bad that you’re giving up home runs to Frank Cervelli and you wouldn’t be in this position.”  CC Sabathia struck out ten dudes in six innings. And the game came in one whole minute under a cool four hours!

Phillies 9, Reds 0: Roy Halladay was dominating on the mound (7 IP. 2 H, 0 ER, 9K) and he even hit a bases-loaded double. At some point we’re just gonna have to face facts that he’s a Jedi or something.

Indians 6, Athletics 2: I started watching this one on TV — I couldn’t bear to see Livan Hernandez beat up the Braves — but then I turned it off and watched “Richard Pryor Here and Now” on Netflix. I dunno why. Just not in a baseball mood last night. But Pryor holds up even 30 years later.  Anyway: the recently-recalled Jeanmar Gomez flummoxed the A’s for six innings and the Tribe managed two two-run homers in the sixth to break it open.

Tigers 2, Royals 1: Doug Fister had a perfect game going through six but then gave up a run in the seventh on a double and a pair of sacrifices. Problem for him is that the Tigers couldn’t do anything themselves against Jeff Francis. They tied it up in the eighth, however, and then Ramon Santiago hit the walkoff bomb off Aaron Crow.

Marlins 6, Mets 0: Javier Vazquez shut the Mets out for seven innings. Mike Pelfrey … did not reciprocate.

Orioles 6, Blue Jays 5: A wild finish to a game that was tied after nine. The Jays took the lead in the top of the 10th on a Kelly Johnson triple and a subsequent wild pitch. But then in the bottom of the inning Brian Tallet walked the first two batters he faced and then gave up an RBI single to pinch hitter Jake Fox and a ground rule double to Ryan Adams. Which was appropriate given that it was a heartbreaker on a day the Jays’ manager was out with pneumonia.

White Sox 8, Twins 6:  Alejandro De Aza drove in four runs and the Sox rallied for five runs in the fifth.

Rangers 2, Rays 0: Big fly for Josh Hamilton and six scoreless for Scott Feldman. I’m going to assume all Rays losses from here on out are the direct result of the curse of the Garfoose.  Though, really, he was far too polite to curse anyone when he left. But still.

Cardinals 2, Brewers 1: A win for St. Louis in a series that once looked like it would have huge playoff implications but now really doesn’t. I suppose if the Cards sweep this one and next week’s series in St. Louis, and if the Brewers start to channel the 1964 Phillies, that yes, there are still playoff implications here. But I’m not really seein’ it.

Astros 8, Pirates 2: A six-run sixth inning for Houston.  Henry Sosa allowed two hits and struck out seven over six innings. Three straight wins for the Astros. Break ’em up.

Diamondbacks 9, Rockies 4: The Dbacks are streaking their way to the NL West title. Miguel Montero and Justin Upton each homered and drove in three runs.

Cubs 5, Giants 2: And, as has become common lately, the Giants have no answer.

Dodgers 8, Padres 5: Andre Ethier should fight with his team about crap more often. A grand slam helps L.A. to an eight-run second inning.

Angels 13, Mariners 6: Mike Trout hit two homers and drove in five, leading the rout. Probably worth noting that this game featured 19 runs, 22 hits and nine walks yet finished up over an hour more quickly than the Yankees-Red Sox game.

Aledmys Diaz is trying to improve his defense with strobe glasses

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MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports that Cardinals’ shortstop Aledmys Diaz has been sporting a new look around Busch Stadium with a pair of “strobe glasses,” technology-enhanced specs designed to help athletes focus on the ball. Like a strobe light, the lenses of these glasses affect a player’s vision by rapidly changing opacity, giving its wearers the illusion that the objects they see are moving more slowly than normal. Once a player adjusts to the new speed of play, they gain a greater sense of control and are able to time their actions with more precision.

Diaz isn’t the first MLB player to utilize the technology, just the first Cardinals’ player to do so. It’s been tested by Bryce Harper, Corey Brown, Tommy Joseph, Austin Hedges and Joe Mauer, among others around the league, and has been used for everything from refining a catcher’s reflexes behind the plate to tweaking a hitter’s ability to track a pitch. Per Langosch, Diaz has been using the glasses to hone in on the ball during pregame drills, increasing both his confidence and response time on the field and improving his defense at short.

The shortstop has been the focus of some concern this season after seeing a sizable dip in his production at the plate, and his five fielding errors, 0.6 UZR and 0.6 fWAR haven’t helped matters, either. He sustained a minor thumb injury during an at-bat on Friday night, and was left off of the Cardinals’ starting lineup on Saturday, though manager Mike Matheny didn’t rule out his ability to pinch-hit during the series. While the strobe glasses are a good start, Diaz will need more than a pair of specs to match the spotlight-worthy performance he turned out during his rookie season in 2016.

Eduardo Rodriguez could rejoin the Red Sox rotation in July

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Red Sox’ left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez may finally get a chance at cracking the rotation again, assuming all goes well in Double-A Portland first. Rodriguez took the field prior to the club’s afternoon session with the Angels, firing 68 pitches in a simulated game as he prepared for an upcoming rehab assignment in Portland on Thursday.

The 24-year-old southpaw suffered a right knee subluxation during pregame warmups on June 1, and it’s been a slow path to recovery ever since. It’s not the first time Rodriguez has had issues with his right knee — he sustained a similar injury during spring training last year — and this time around, the Red Sox weren’t about to gamble with their starter’s health. Ian Browne of MLB.com reports that Rodriguez was put in a knee brace and underwent exercises designed to help him regain some mobility and stability while he worked back up to full strength on the mound.

He’ll still need to prove he can throw a 75- to 80-pitch outing in Double-A, and barring any significant setbacks, will likely rejoin the Red Sox’ pitching staff when they visit the Rangers next month. In the meantime, the club will continue to cycle starters through the No. 5 spot, which has seen no fewer than three different pitchers since Rodriguez hit the disabled list. The lefty is 4-2 in 10 starts this season after logging a 3.54 ERA, 3.1 BB/9 and career-high 9.6 SO/9 through his first 61 innings.